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their violence; then they seize upon the goods of all those that are cast out. The Bishop of Munster, whom they had forced out, was lord of the city, and, to recover his right, had now besieged it with strong forces; so that the miserable people, that were turned out by the anabaptists, were rifled, and many killed by the bishop's soldiers. The fear thereof constrained many honest men, which abhorred the anabaptists, to stay in the city against their will.
The chief prophet among them, as they called him, was John Mate thew; he sends forth his proclamations through the city, commanding every man, upon pain of death, to bring forth their gold and silver, and all their goods, unto a publick place appointed for the purpose: The people, astonished with the severity of this edict, were fain to obey it; if any man detained aught of his own goods, they were discovered by certain women that pretended to be prophetesses. Soon after, the same prophet commands, that no man keep any books in his custody, but only the holy bible; that all other books must be brought forth and burned: for this, he said, he had direction from heaven ; and accordingly all other books in great numbers were fung into the fire.
It happened about that time, that one Hubart Trutaling, a smith, a witty fellow, had jested somewhat sharply upon their prophets, whereupon they call the multitude, and command them to come armed ; they arraign the poor smith, and condemn him to die for his sauciness; which proceedings struck great terror in the people. Matthew, the chief prophet, doth execution upon the wretch, first wounds him with a spear, then shoots him through with a pistol.
The same prophet, taking his long pike, running in great haste to the gates of the city, cries, that God the Father had sent him a commandment to raise the siege, and to beat away the enemy : when he came near the soldiers, he was by one of them dispatched, and run through. Though by this event he was proved to be a false prophet, yet his friends and fellows, the other prophets, did so excuse and palliate the business unto the vulgar, that they much lamented his death, and thought it a calamity to have lost so brave a man. His fellow, John of Leyden, desires the people to be comforted, for it was long before revealed unto him, that Matthew was to die in that manner, and that, after his death, himself was to marry his wife.
Within a while they run to the churches, and ring out at once all the bells; that done, Knipperdoling begins to prophesy, and he foretells, that some in high places must be thrown down, others of mean condition raised up to great authority. Then he commands all churches to be defaced, affirming that this commandment came from God; and accordingly the commandment was executed few days after. John of Leyden delivers the sword to Knipperdoling, and appoints him to be the publick executioner, for so God had commanded, that he who was, but now, the highest magistrate, should take upon him the meanest office, and be the hangman; he undertook the office with great thanks and good-will.
The bishop alone, at his own charge, had, for some months, continued the siege ; afterwards divers of the neighbouring princes sent in monies and men to assist for him; he had made many assaults, thinkall things,
ing to enter the city by force, but being repulsed, seeing no hopes, but only to conquer them by famine, he resolved upon that course, and shut up all the passages.
In the mean while John of Leyden betakes him to his sleep, and continues in a dream three days together; being awaked, he speaks not a word, but calls for paper; in it he writes the names of twelve men, who were to be chief officers over God's Israel, and to govern for such, he said, was the will of the heavenly father, when he had thus prepared the way to his kingdom. He propounds certain doctrines unto the ministers, and requires them to confute them by testimonies of scripture, if they were able; if not, he would relate them unto the people, and enact them for laws. The doctrines were these, that no man was bound to one only wife, and that every man may take as many as he pleaseth. When the preachers disliked the doctrines, he calls his twelve rulers, and a general assembly of the people. In the presence of all he casts his cloke upon the ground, and upon it the book of the New Testament; by these signs he swears, that the doctrine which he had published was revealed unto him from heaven, and therefore he gravely threatens the ministers, that God would be highly displeased with them, if they consented not to it. It was in vain for them to resist, and therefore they yielded, and, for three days together, discourse unto the people of the lawfulness of polygamy; the issue was, that Leyden first takes three wives, whereof one had been the wife of John Matthew, the great prophet; many other follow his example, so that at length he was thought most praise-worthy that had most wives.
Many citizens of good sense, and good protestants, were extremely displeased with these mad doings; arming as many as they could, they meet together in the Market-place, and lay hold upon the prophet Knipperdoling, and their teachers; which the base people hearing, they gather in multitudes, assault them with great fury, take away their captives, and kill to the number of fifty, with extreme cruelty ; for, binding them to stakes and trees, they shot them to death, the great prophet standing by, and commending this execution, as a thing well pleasing to God; others also were killed in another manner.
After some weeks, there ariseth a new prophet, a goldsmith; he calls the multitude into the market-place, and declares, the will and commandment of the heavenly father to be, that John of Leyden must have the government of all the world; that, with mighty forces, he was to go out to destroy all kings and princes without difference, sparing only the poor people who love righteousness; that he was to possess the throne of his father David, until he should yield up the kingdom to his heavenly father; that all the wicked must be destroyed, to the end, that the godly alone may rule and reign in this world. When the goldsmith had said thus much, John of Leyden falls down upon his knees, and, holding up his hands to heaven, Men and brethren, said he, this very thing was revealed to me many days go, though I did not publish it; but now it hath pleased the father to make it known unto you by this prophet.
John, being thus advanced to be a King, instantly puts his twelve.
enemy, is rashly to join battle, without any foresight of the inconvenience thereof : A thing so generally received of all our nation, for the best way, as who should seem to impugn the same is in danger to be made ridiculous, and his reasons to be holden for heresy, and not fit to be heard or read; and yet, how rude, ignorant, and untowardly we should and would present ourselves thereunto, make but some models of convenient numbers assembled, and you shall see the same.
In private quarrels for trifling causes, every man desireth to be exercised and skilful in that weapon, wherewith he would encounter his enemy; but, in this general conflict, wherein we fight for the safety of our country, religion, goods, wives, and children, we should hazard all in that order and form, wherein we are altogether ignorant and unexperimented.
But, because I have found it, by experience and reason, a very desperate and dangerous kind of trial, I would not wish any prince to venture his kingdom that way, unless he be weary of the same, it being the only thing for an invader to seek, and a defender to shun; for the one doth hazard but his people, and hath a lot to win a kingdom; the other, in losing of the battle, hath lost his crown.
A battle is the last refuge, and not to be yielded unto by the defendant, until such time as he and his people are made desperate.
In which kind of trial, seldom or never shall you see the invader to quail; no, though his numbers have been much less than the other.
There is a kind of heat and fury in the encounter and joining of battles; the which whose side can longest retain, on that part goeth victory; contrariwise, which side conceiveth the first fear, whether it be upon just cause, or not, that side goeth to wreck; yea, and oftentimes it falleth so out, before the pikes be touched.
Thus much to the uncertainty of battle; wherein albeit I would wish our nation to be well exercised and trained, it being a thing of great moment, yet to be used in our own country, as the sheet-anchor and last refuge of all.
A Caveat for the avoiding of that dangerous course in running down to
the Sea-side, at the firing of the Beacons.
THAT there be in every shire places appointed, whereunto the country may resort upon the firing of the beacons; which places of assembly should not be less distant, than five or six miles from the sea. side at the least, for the footmen to gather themselves together, to the intent you may the better sort your men, put them in some order, and consult what is meetest to be done; which you shall hardly be able to do, if your place of assembly be within the view, or near unto the enemy, who will by all means seek to attempt you in your disorderly assemblies. Moreover, if fear once take your men, or they be amazed, if you had as skilful leaders as the earth doth bear, they would not be able to dispose or reduce them into such order and form as they would; neither will the enemy give you time to deliberate what is best to be done, but you must either disorderly fight, or more disorderly run away. And, above all things, I especially advise to shun that old and barbarous custom of running confusedly to the sea-side, thinking thereby to prevent the landing of the enemy, or at least to annoy them greatly; which you shall never do; for, be it upon any invasion, you may be sure, that there is no prince will undertake so great an enterprise, but he will be sure to have such a number of boats, gallies, and other small vessels of draught, as he will be able to land at one time two or three thousand men; which boats shall be so well appointed with bases and other shot, as that they will be sure to make way for their quiet landing. And, for my own part, I much doubt, whether you shall have in two or three days, after the firing of the beacons, such a sufficient number as, with wisdom and discretion, were fit to deal or venture a battle with so many men as they will land in an hour, for any thing that ever I could yet see in the country's readiness at the firing of the beacons.
If the enemy doth intend but to land, and burn some houses or villages near to the sea-coast, for the prevention thereof, as much as may be, it were good to appoint only those, that dwell within two or three miles of the sea-side, to repair thither to make resistance; and, for their succour, you may appoint the horsemen to draw down to the plains next adjoining to the same, who may also keep them at a bay from straggling far into the country.
But, if the attempt be made by a prince purposed and appointed to invade, if you give them battle at the first landing, you offer them even the thing they most desire; and it is a thousand to one a conquest the
My reasons are these : First, You give battle, but, I pray, with what people? even with countrymen altogether unexperimented in martial actions, whose leaders are like to themselves; and another thing, as dangerous as all this, You fight at home, where your people know the next way to save themselves by flight, in recovering of towns, woods, and by-ways:
Contrariwise, with whom do you encounter but with a company of picked and trained soldiers, whose leaders and captains are, no doubt, men both politick and valiant, who are made so much the more desperate and bold, by not leaving to themselves any other hope to save their lives, but by marching over your bellies. And besides, it is to be imagined, that, having spread some faction before, amongst yourselves, as there is no country free from seditious and treacherous malecontents, they are animated to pursue the victory more sharply. Again, if you once receive an overthrow, what fear and terror you have brought yourselves into, how hardly you shall bring a second battle, and how dangerous to fight with men dismayed, those that are of experience can judge. Likewise what pride and jollity you have put your enemies in, to march forward, having no forts, nor fenced towns, to give them any stop in this fear, or for your own people to take breath, and make head again; but that your enemies and factious companies of your own nation may join together, and be furnished with victuals, horse, and carriage at their will and pleasure, without which no prince can prevail in
under the conduct of Utricsh, Earl of Oberstein. They agreed also to sollicit King Ferdinand, the Emperor then in Spain, and all the other princes of Germany to join with them,
They sent also their letters to Munster, and gravely advised the besieged to desist from their ungodly and rebellious courses; professing, if they yielded not, that the bishop should have the forces of the empire to do justice upon them. This was about the end of December. In the beginning of January, they sent an answer in many words, but little to the purpose, yet so as they commended all their doings. To that charge laid against them of creating a new King, they said nothing in that reply. But, in other private letters to the Landgrave, they endeavoured to excuse it, speaking much of the general destruction of the wicked, and of the glorious reign of the godly in this life. Withal, they sent to him the book formerly mentioned, of the Restitution, and counsel bim to repent by times, and not combine with other princes against them, being the holy saints of God. The Landgrave, having read their letter and their book, returns them an answer; and, because they pretended their new King to be made by especial direction from God, he desires to know, by what authority of scriptures they assumed that power, and by what miracles they confirmed it? and, whereas they called for a fair trial of their cause, the Landgrave replied, it was now too late; since they had already seized on the civil power, and been authors of so much sedition and calamity, it did appear to all the world, that they intended nothing else, but the ruin of all order and government both in church and state; that he had sent unto them many learned and godly ministers to instruct them in sound religion, whom they had scorned and rejected; that their doctrines and practices of rebelling against their magistrates, of robbing men of their goods, of polygamy, of setting up a King of their own, of a community of all things amongst Christians, and the like, are unchristian and abominable, contrary to all laws of God and men.
Upon this reply from the Landgrave, they write back again, and send him another book in the Dutch tongue, intitled, Of the Mysteries of Scripture. In their letters, they defend all their tenents; and in their book divide the ages of the world, into three parts: The first from Adam, to Noah, which perished by water: The second, this wherein we live, which is to perish by fire: The last shall be the new world, wherein righteousness shall reign. That, before this present world be purged with fire, Antichrist must be revealed, and his power abolished. That then the throne of David shall be erected, and Christ obtain a glorious kingdom upon earth, in his saints, as the prophets have foretold. That this age is like that of Esau, the wicked prospering, and the godly being afflicted; but that their miseries were now near an end, and the time of their freedom and restitution approached, when the wicked should be repaid fourfold, for all their persecutions, as was prophesied by John, in his Revelation.
That, immediately after the restitution, the new and golden age should follow, wherein the righteous saints should reign alone, all the wicked being utterly destroyed. These dreams were confuted by some learned divines appointed by the Landgrave. About February, the